NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – UNM men’s basketball first-year head coach Richard Pitino likes what he is seeing from his team. He also knows there is more work to be done. “I still think we need to deal with adversity with each other a little bit better on the court. I think you noticed a little bit during practice that talking to someone leads to something bigger than it needs to be and that’s where inexperience comes in,” Pitino said.
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The Lobos are a team of new faces. None of the current team members even know what it is like to play at The Pit in front of a crowd during a regular season or exhibition game. They will get that first experience Friday when the Lobos host New Mexico Highlands in an exhibition. “We’re going to try to get up the court,” said UNM guard Jamal Mashburn Junior. “We’re going to try to score in the first eight seconds and if we can’t we’ll holler out and run a set for motion. We’re trying to push the ball down team’s throats. We got the speed. We got the length. We got the athletes to do it. So, that’s what we’re going to do.”
Friday’s game against the Lobos and New Mexico Highlands starts at 5 p.m.
In other sports news, it will be another game-time decision of who will start at quarterback for the Lobos football team against UNLV Saturday. Starting quarterback Terry Wilson continues to recover from a dislocated elbow in his nonthrowing arm.
Wilson has not practiced this week. If he is not able to go, former Rio Rancho standout Isaiah Chavez will get his second straight start, but it will be the first time in front of the hometown crowd. “It will be cool,” said Chavez. “You know, I don’t really care about starting that much. If they give me the call, that’s fine, let’s roll. If I don’t get the call, that’s fine, let’s roll. It really doesn’t matter to me. I just tell the guys to be prepared. I just tell them to rock out because that’s how we’re going to do it.”
New Mexico State is one of four schools that has received an invitation from Conference USA. Yahoo.com is reporting that the conference also offered Liberty, Jacksonville State and Sam Houston State. The NMSU board of regents will meet to discuss the invite Friday.
State soccer championship action resumed Wednesday with the semifinals. In class 4A boys action the two seed Academy knocked out number six Highland 2-1. That sets up a championship match against top seed Lovington, who defeated Hope Christian 1-0. In girl’s action, the top seed in Class 5A, the Cibola Cougars, defeated number four Hobbs 3-1.